As Dora jurors vote this week on the best in T.O. theatre, dance and opera, here are some worthy artists who will likely show up their lists By GLENN SUMI
The first ballots for Dora Mavor Moore Awards nominations are due this week, so I thought I’d try to predict the nominees. Play along at home! Or if you happen to be reading this during intermission at a show, pencil in things you think I’ve forgotten in the margins of your theatre program!
In the interest of brevity, I’m only commenting on theatre, not dance, opera or theatre for young audiences. And I’ve decided against splitting these observations into “General” and “Independent” theatre categories.
The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts will announce the actual nominees on May 31. For more info go to tapa.ca.
performance (female) in a play, Bunny Beaty won the Dora last year for The Last Wife, but in Hannah Moscovitch’s coming-of-ager, she got to show off something new: simultaneously acting as narrator and sex-obsessed central character, she was comic, sensual and awkward, all done with complete confidence. OTHER LIKELY NOMINEES: Seana McKenna (Lear); Laurie Paton (The Humans) LET’S HOPE: Vivien Endicott-Douglas isn’t shut out of the race for either Lo
(Or Dear Mr Wells) or Category E. Acting since her teen years, she’s emerged as one of the strongest performers of her generation. And I fear there won’t be room for Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s ferocious performance in Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, though it’s probably unlike anything a Dora juror has ever sat through before.
performance (male) in a play, Jerusalem I wasn’t as blown away by Coates’s return to the stage as many, but in the months since seeing Outside the March’s sold-out production, his grizzled, glamorous and dangerous turn as a troubled Pied Piper railing against the evils of the modern world has stayed with me. He’s guaranteed a spot on this list, and probably the win. OTHER LIKELY NOMINEES: Ric Reid (The Humans); Craig Lauzon (The Drawer Boy) HOPE THERE’S ROOM FOR: Bob Nasmith’s
devastating performance in Krapp’s Last Tape; Rick Roberts’s terrifying and pitiable Pozzo in Waiting For Godot; Adam Lazarus’s eerily relevant toxic male figure in Daughter; and Jeff Ho’s multi-generational dramatis personae from his autobiographical Trace.
(male) in a musical, Fun Home Many who saw the Broadway production and this co-pro by Mirvish and Musical Stage Company thought Buliung did a more convincing job as the closeted father than the Tony Awardwinning Michael Cerveris. No wonder. Lusty one moment, full of fury the next, then tender and remorseful, Buliung captures all the conflicts and contradictions of this heartbreaking character. OTHER LIKELY NOMINEES: Dan Chameroy (Life After); Daren A. Herbert (Onegin) LET’S HOPE: one of the two Mandarinsinging performers from Njo Kong Kie and Wong Teng Chi’s Mr. Shi And His Lover, Jordan Cheng and Derek Kwan, get remembered for their haunting turns singing in a variety of genres. And in a just world, Joel Cumber’s oddball Amish character from Rumspringa Break! would be recognized.
performance (female) in a musical, Onegin Gillis has always been one of those artists whose feelings register even to the back of the theatre – will anyone who saw it forget her poignant scene in Spoon River? She was the emotional centre in Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille’s indie rock take on the Tchaikovsky classic, and a Dora nomination seems assured. OTHER LIKELY NOMINEES: Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical); Ellen Denny (Life After); and all three Alisons in Fun Home (Laura Condlln, Sara Farb, Hannah Levinson), although they could end up scoring an ensemble nomination instead.
THE ACTORS IN FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE / WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF,
performance by an ensemble Performances like these are why there’s an ensemble category in the first place. How else could voters single out one person from among great actors like Akosua Amo-Adem, Ordena Stephens Thompson, Karen Glave, Tamara Brown, d’bi young anitafrika, Evangelia Kambites and Sate? OTHER LIKELY NOMINEES: Onegin; Jerusalem; The Humans; Punk Rock; Bunny; Lear; Rumspringa Break!
set design, Jerusalem You don’t often get the chance to turn a theatre into an English forest, but that’s what Blais accomplished in his immersive set for Jez Butterworth’s play. Seldom has walking into a play been so thrilling. OTHER LIKELY DESIGN NOMINEES: Ken MacKenzie (sets and costumes for Animal Farm); Jason Hand (lighting design for Hamlet); T. Erin Gruber (set design for Bears)
The 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, hosted by Astrid Van Wieren, take place June 25 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Tickets go on sale May 31. email@example.com | @glennsumi
OPINION Here’s hoping For Colored Girls gets an ensemble acting nod.